What drew you to the role of Crenshawn?
I just feel like Issa knows me. She had a vision for the character and the season. She’s a crafty one. She might have been paying attention to the fact that I was diving more into fashion, making my sweaters and doing my thing. I would send her samples way before we had anything available. It just aligned. I’ve really been diving into this world in real life.
How hands on are you with this new launch?
We’re still in our infant stages so me and my partner, Julian [Lane], we carry a lot of the weight. From steaming, packing, everything. With that being said, it’s fun.
I definitely underestimated how hard it is to steam stuff. You get the wrinkles out, but then it takes 20 minutes for it to dry and it can’t be wet when you put it in the bag. Then you have to put the stickers on it…it’s a process, but we’re getting there.
How did you come up with the vision for this first collection of clothing?
We gave ourselves the space to be experimental. Everything was emotional. We ended up with an emerald and a mauve color to begin with. I think in retrospect, I realized it just builds contrast. It feels like the duality of childhood. It’s super bright and vibrant, but at the same time there’s a muted-ness and angst of growing up and just trying to find your place in the world.
The overall vision [of We’re Not Kids Anymore] is to build community and to build a space where we’re reflected internally and externally. It’s a Black-owned company. We’re independent. We’ve been using all of our own funds to get things started. It’s a personal love letter to our childhoods. The apparel portion of it just makes it real.
You mentioned the angst of growing up, do you still feel that even as an adult who has established in their career?
First of all, who said I was an adult? Second of all, absolutely. That was kind of where this whole thing started. My life was changing. I was turning 22. I’d just moved to New Orleans. I just remembered having a thought that damn, we’re not kids anymore. Frank Ocean had just dropped Blonde and I was in my feels. It was nostalgic. It was a thought that never left me. That angst, I don’t think it ever goes away. I think We’re Not Kids Anymore gives me the ability to filter, transmute and make good of all of that energy and emotion.
In episode eight, Issa is facing a dilemma where she’s imagining her life if she is able to broaden her company’s reach beyond L.A. and then she’s imagining being the local hometown hero and creating something that sticks within the culture. As an artist, have you had to grapple with that in some ways in your work?
If we simplify it, the language of America is economy. As much as I love somebody, water, shelter, resources cost [money]. It’s a balance between being able to claim our space on a global level while still being able to keep our roots in the community and making sure we’re giving back to the overall cause. I don’t think we should be limited to just only Black stuff. It’s a balance and intention. Never forget what the overall goal is, which is empowerment. You can’t be empowered when you’re broke [laughs].